It may not be the real thing, but tonight's Independence Days fireworks display is bound to evoke images of the bombs bursting in air that inspired Francis Scott Key's "Star Spangled Banner."
In fact, the 45-minute fireworks display, which is sponsored by the Lawrence Jaycees and is part of the opening-night entertainment for the annual Independence Days festival, will feature a 50-foot ground display of the American flag and be synchronized to the "1812 Overture."
Independence Days officially gets under way at 6 p.m. today in Burcham Park, with a country, folk and bluegrass performance by Robert Earl Keen and patriotic music by the Lawrence Symphony Orchestra.
The fireworks program will start around 9:20 p.m. in North Lawrence, across from Burcham Park, which organizers say will offer the best vantage point for viewing the display. Burcham Park is located along the Kansas River at Third and Indiana streets.
On Thursday, Independence Days moves from Burcham Park to downtown, where downtown merchants will sponsor a three-ring circus using Watkins and Eldridge parks and Eighth Street, between Massachusetts and Vermont streets, as the triple venues.
Musicians, mimes and clowns will provide entertainment at the parks throughout the afternoon. Carnival games and a traveling farm will be offered on Eighth Street. Historical tours also will leave the Elizabeth M. Watkins Community Museum at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The weekly Brown Bag Concert will be at noon at Ninth and Massachusetts and will feature the acoustic rock and roll of The Stringers.
A University Theatre production of "The Robber Bridegroom" will begin at 8 p.m. at Liberty Hall.
The Lawrence City Union Band will play a concert of marches and circus music at 8 p.m. in South Park.
In addition, food booths and displays by downtown merchants and the Lawrence Fire Department will be set up downtown.
Admission will be charged for some of Thursday's activities.
The festival will continue through Sunday in Burcham and Constant parks. Constant Park is located at Sixth and Tennessee.